Oh, good golly. Why do we have to play head games?
I’ll tell you why—FEAR!
Fear makes us do the craziest things to get back to a comfortable state. For those who’ve heard me speak, you know I address the “fear” fault a lot because we’re human and it holds us back and causes us to behave in crazy ways.
We’ve all experienced the manipulative form of fear. Someone leads us to a point and then backs off and leaves us hanging to either take the fall or run away.
We also have manipulators all around us. We’ve been them—probably by no fault of our own (wink!).
We need to find ways to manage manipulators. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Ask direct questions. Recently, I had to address the manipulator in my own career. I decided to ask the direct (and probably dreaded) question: “What is really going on here?” “I sense some dissatisfaction from you. Is this accurate?” “How can we make this work?” While I didn’t get the most honest of responses, I did gain a little more respect from him. This individual (whom I shall not name) now knows that I mean business. I also know that in order to get back to a place of trust, it will require work on both of our parts and a lot more questions from me.
- Have compassion. This person wouldn’t behave in such a way unless they are scared. They are. So have some compassion. Don’t fire back with an arsenal of negative retorts; instead understand they are worried and uncomfortable in their own skin at the moment. Give them time and space and perhaps they will come around when ready.
- Watch and observe. Don’t spend a lot of time doing this but, when the opportunity permits, observe patterns. Look for signs of what triggers the manipulative behavior and either avoid or get out in front of it with a positive approach. Here’s the thing—you’re not alone in your observations. Everyone knows and, while this person’s behavior may not be the topic of conversation at the water cooler (nor should it be), others are keenly aware of the manipulator’s habits. Give them time. It will catch up with them eventually and you don’t need to be the one to take them down.
- Work with a coach. Together we’ll help you craft and deliver the crucial conversations that shut down manipulators. We’ll also work on identifying and squelching related fears and help you focus on what’s most important to you. You can manage manipulators easily enough if you know how not let them take away your personal power.